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Otto Sverdrup: Claims Canadian Islands

During an 1898-1902 Arctic expedition, Norwegian explorer Otto Sverdrup, using Fridtjof Nansen's crush-resistant ship, the Fram, discovered three islands in what is now the Canadian territory of Nunavut. He promptly claimed them for his own country.

This discovery stunned the Canadian government. Britain's possessions in the far north had been transferred to Canada in 1880, and it was thought that the whole area was "sewn up".

Having a Norwegian announce the discovery of new lands in Canada's ice-bound north was an embarrassment - Sverdrup was even pushing his own government to send patrols over to police the islands to demonstrate that they were "Norwegian".

This was a complication that Canada did not want, so Sverdrup was paid $67,000, supposedly for his original maps and journals. The real reason, of course, was so Norway would not challenge Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic archipelego. Canada simply bought the islands back.

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